Brain Drain Dooms Somalia?
With peace talks in Djibouti underpinned by growing momentum for another round of U.N. peacekeeping, is Somalia on the verge of a turn-around following 17 years of conflict? Mark Bowden asked this question in a piece for The Philadelphia Enquirer. His answer is pessimistic:
One of the things Somalia lacks is a capable, homegrown movement of educated, determined nationalists capable of fending off the religious radicals, disarming and controlling the warlords, and standing up for the interests of people who just want a stable, civil society. I wonder whether the drain of Somali talent, money, and ambition to other places in the world — so evident in Minneapolis-St. Paul [with its large Somali population] — isn’t one of the reasons no such movement exists. …
It makes me wonder whether some of the misery in Somalia might be caused by this relative ease of foreign travel and immigration. I am not suggesting we throw up barriers to Somalis or anyone else. Global immigration patterns are a vital and natural consequence of an increasingly international market economy. But one downside might be the perpetuation of failure in states such as Somalia.